I hit Ambanja, 300km to go and the last bank stop, a chance to get cash for the final leg. In I went to the bank Card in hand, guess what the only ATM in town is broken, and has been for the last few months and the bank is manual, can’t help me. The teller casually waves me on and says go to Nosy be, there are 3 banks, they can help. A road trip of 20km and then a ferry to the island of 35km, (1 hour boat ride) and on top I don’t have cash to pay for it.
I borrowed money and off I went, it took most of the day, finally arriving at 3-30 on the island, banks were closed but there were ATMs. I tried my card, no luck. Now I was stuffed, not a cent, no money for food, nothing for a ferry, I had only one option, sit the night out and sort it the next day when the bank opens. Nick was with me all our gear was with the crew on the main land and he was to fly out the next day and here we were stuck.
Hungry and tired I sat contemplating the evening ahead. By some weird coincidence as it was getting dark I bumped into a South African, Hilton whom I had met in Tana, and he lived in the area. What a luck as Hilton put us up. Early the next morning we returned to the centre of nosy- be and the banks to try again.
Finally getting to a teller, I was informed there were no funds, it can’t be, I knew exactly what there was as well as what we had spent, there must be funds. Now I was really stuffed. After many calls to and fro from SA we found out that some one who was meant to be a crew member and whom I had entrusted with the card while I was paddling the ocean and was to join Nick and myself in Tana for part 2 actually dropped us and never arrived. He the big snake has been using the funds for himself.
Now there was a nightmare to get funds, stuck on an island with the most diabolical banking system, I had to draw money on my card that was not set up with a pin number, and guess what my passport was on the mainland with the crew, half a day away and no cash to get it. Eventually my wife managed to mail a certified copy to the bank and so on the fiasco went. 36 hours later I finally got money and can now move again.